KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Roundup: New Health Center Money In Ill.; Groups Question Insurers On Discrimination In Fla.

Chicago Tribune: Quinn Announces State Funding For Health Centers
Gov. Pat Quinn continued his ribbon-cutting spree today, announcing the state will spend $30.5 million to build and renovate 14 health centers across the state that provide care for low-income patients (Garcia, 8/31).

Los Angeles Times: Three Businesses Ordered To Leave VA's West Los Angeles Campus
The federal Department of Veterans Affairs is ordering a bus company, a car rental firm and a laundry service to leave its sprawling West Los Angeles campus after complaints from critics that the agency puts commercial interests ahead of caring for thousands of homeless veterans (Groves, 9/1).

Chicago Tribune: Charting Changes To Illinois Workers' Compensation
Each year in Illinois, roughly 200,000 work-related accidents occur, according to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission. Employers pay for workers' compensation benefits through insurance policies or self-insurance, but they have long complained about the high costs of treating employees. In June, Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law amendments to the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act that reduce workers' compensation costs. Several provisions take effect on Thursday or later (Sachdev, 9/1).

Health News Florida: Mental-Health Groups Turn To Feds
A coalition of 13 mental health groups has asked the federal government to help determine whether Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Florida is breaking a law that prohibits discrimination against the kinds of services they provide. The move comes after an announcement that the company is terminating contracts for all mental health workers and requiring them to apply to Kansas-based managed care company New Directions Behavioral Health (Davis, 8/31).

The Connecticut Mirror: Coaching Patients To Keep Them From Returning To The Hospital
If you end up in The Hospital of Central Connecticut, you might meet Joyce Kolpa and Tamara Johnson. They'll visit you after you go home, make a couple follow up calls, even role play if it will help you be a better patient — all with the goal of keeping you from coming back. ... Potentially preventable readmissions account for about $12 billion in annual Medicare spending, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (Levin Becker, 8/31).

WBUR: Vacuums And Heat Aid: Health Care's Definition Stretched
What makes or keeps us healthy often has nothing to do with what happens in our doctor's office or a hospital. Angila Griffin made this discovery a few months ago when a community health worker stopped by to check on her kids, who have asthma. Jean Figaro came armed with vinegar and baking soda. They're cleaning products, he explained (Bebinger, 9/1).

The Arizona Republic: Budget Cuts Take Toll On In-Hospital Cardon Children's School
School is the No. 1 thing on the minds of kids with cancer and other serious illnesses, said Sue Eaton, senior manager of child life at Cardon, which is on the campus of Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa. … But fewer kids are expected to attend at Cardon this school year because of budget cuts at Mesa Public Schools, the state's largest school district. The district had to cut a $20,000 half-time elementary-school teacher based at Cardon as part of a $22 million operating-budget reduction earlier this year (Creno, 9/1).

The Associated Press/Denver Post: Suit Alleges Delays In Treatment Of Colo. Inmates
Colorado detainees found incompetent to stand trial sometimes wait up to six months be transferred to the state's mental hospital, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court on Wednesday. The lawsuit filed against the state's Department of Human Services and the state's mental health hospital in Pueblo alleges that "presumptively innocent men and women are languishing in Colorado jails," either waiting for a court-ordered competency evaluation or to be transferred to the mental hospital for treatment (Moreno, 8/31).

San Francisco Chronicle: Lyon-Martin Health Services Taking New Patients
Lyon-Martin Health Services, the pioneering San Francisco clinic that has served women and transgender people for more than 30 years, will start accepting new patients today — eight months after it nearly closed due to financial problems. The clinic's board of directors voted in late January to shut down the health center, but Lyon-Martin's patients and supporters decided to put up a fight. They raised more than $500,000 within a matter of months while the clinic's staff worked internally to stabilize operations, cut expenses and find additional revenue sources for the Market Street clinic (Colliver, 9/1).

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